Accounting senior Azhai Williams reflects on KU involvement, achievements
Azhai Williams completed her bachelor’s degree in accounting in spring 2022. As an undergraduate, she was involved with the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, the Adidas Leadership Scholars Program, the Business School Ambassadors Program, the Multicultural Business Scholars Program, and she was a teaching assistant for Accounting 201.
She will hold an internship with PwC in the audit practice this summer and will begin KU’s Master of Accounting (MAcc) program in the fall. After graduating from the MAcc program, she plans to get her CPA and hopes work full time for PwC.
Please share some of your achievements from your time at KU.
I remained on the Dean’s List every semester; I networked with companies and was able to find a consistent internship that will likely lead to a full-time offer, and I was accepted into the MAcc program and received a scholarship that will pay for nearly all of my tuition/fees.
Tell us about your experience serving as a T.A.
Being a T.A. has been an amazing experience. Through teaching, I have been able to increase the depth of my accounting knowledge, which has benefited my students and me. Having a deeper knowledge of introductory accounting concepts has made it easier to adjust my teaching based on each student’s learning style and has made it easier for me to learn new concepts in upper-level accounting classes.
Being a T.A. has also been a great social experience. My co-workers (other T.A.s) have become great friends that I can go to for help with classes and career-related things or just to have fun. Being a T.A. has also allowed me to network with many different KU faculty members as well as recruiters and other representatives from various companies. Through being a T.A., I have gotten a feel of what teaching is like. This has been very beneficial because I am considering going back to school to get my Ph.D. in accounting and becoming a professor after I get a few years of experience in public accounting.
What other enrichment programs have you been involved in during your time at KU, and what valuable experience(s) can you share from them?
Being a member of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program was an amazing experience because it helped me narrow down what I want to do with my career. Through the program, I was able to assist Professor Scott Whisenant on a research project about the statement of cash flows. While completing the project, I learn how to find sources/articles, how to write a literature review, how to gather and organize data, and how the overall research process works. This was beneficial because I now know how to complete a research project if I decide to pursue a Ph.D. in the future. Outside of research, the program held many symposiums that were packed with information on topics such as mental health, having an online presence, and how to write a statement of purpose. This program has prepared me well for graduate school as it gave me the ability to apply for graduate programs with the confidence that I had stellar application materials.
What has been your favorite aspect of the Multicultural Business Scholars Program?
My favorite aspect of the Multicultural Business Scholars Program is the networking at the monthly meetings. These meetings open my mind to various possibilities for careers. I am also able to network with recruiters and talk about the things I should be doing now to make myself a better candidate when I apply for full-time jobs. I am still in communication with many of the people I have networked with, and they are always willing to answer my questions about the accounting field and what my work would look like in various positions. The free and delicious food is also amazing.
What is a piece of advice that you would give to incoming students?
One piece of advice I would give incoming students is to get involved but not too involved. Maintaining good mental health is vital to being successful in college. If you get over-involved, it could lead you to be stressed and eventually burnt out. I recommend getting involved in three to four clubs, organizations, and/or enrichment programs where each one is centered around a different aspect of education and/or hobbies.